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Common pine at big-box

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Forum topic by BadWolfBrewing posted 11-05-2014 08:16 PM 1593 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BadWolfBrewing

4 posts in 766 days


11-05-2014 08:16 PM

Greeting to all, this is my first post. I’m pretty active on homebrewtalk, and thats such a friendly helpful place I figured I’d try a woodworking forum as I get started.

I’m new to woodworking. i’ve done a small amount back in college, and now that I have room for tools and a house that need furniture I’m trying to get back into it.

I hope this hasn’t been addressed already. I couldn’t find it anywhere, but I might have searched the wrong terms.

I built a bed frame and foundation yesterday out of common pine boards from a big-box type store. The select pine was about 5x as expensive, and this is just for the guest room, so I went with common. I picked out the best boards they had (1×6’s and 1×8’s), but they weren’t perfect. Once I started cutting and assembling, the warping seemed much more pronounced and problematic. Cupping in particular was an issue. I built a stand for my home brewery and I had the same problems, though in that case I wasn’t as concerned with looks.

My question is, if I go to a nicer lumberyard or woodcraft-type store, can I get common pine boards that are higher quality? Or is the warping always part of common pine? Will select pine have the same issues? I’m not that concerned with appearance, as long as the boards are straight.

Thanks for any advice, looking forward to being part of this forum.


17 replies so far

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

682 posts in 1578 days


#1 posted 11-05-2014 08:21 PM

Recently most of my work has been with 2×4s and such. Even though they say kiln dried on them they are often still pretty wet for use in furniture. I sticker mine and let them sit for a month or two in my basement (which is quite dry). Select pine should be better if it isn’t dimensioned for construction use. Welcome to LJs.
Also just a quick note about using pine: Put a coat of shellac down before staining or painting it. Helps with the blotchiness that pine is prone to.

-- James

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1572 posts in 1943 days


#2 posted 11-06-2014 01:19 AM

Most box store pine is only dried to 19%. The cupping and warping are probably because your boards are drying out as you use them. Make sure that you do not lay them down flat on a table or floor where only one side is exposed to air. If one side dries and the other does not, bad things happen.

Stickering like JADobson points out is a good practice to let the wood dry down further. Common boards have more defects like knots, and most boards with defects dry worse than boards that do not have any defects.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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RogerInColorado

321 posts in 1422 days


#3 posted 11-08-2014 03:01 AM

You might consider experimenting with poplar. It’s a little more expensive than pine but may be worth it to you. Should be available dried to a lower mc than pine, even at a big box store. It’s easy to work, looks good, knot free, takes paint like a dream and, if preconditioned, stains well. I’ve also had good results using darker colors of gel stain. I find it more stable than pine. Find a buddy with a planer and you can buy “in the rough” pretty cheap.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile

TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1402 days


#4 posted 11-08-2014 03:09 PM

Big box lumber is not really ever going to be straight as an arrow, or really even relatively straight. Even dimensioned lumber at lumberyards and woodworking stores cannot be counted on to be straight. Honestly, to get straight lumber, you really need to do it yourself with hand tools or with a jointer, planer, and tablesaw. I know that you might not want to buy these tools right now, but if you plan on making the furniture for your house, it won’t be long before you realize you need these tools. Invest in them if you can, starting with a planer, then a tablesaw, then a jointer.

I know your question was about pine, but the info above basically goes for all wood. Select pine from the big box would likely be a little better, but it won’t be perfect, so don’t expect it to be. The best and really only way to get quality flat and square boards appropriate for joinery is to do it yourself.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View BadWolfBrewing's profile

BadWolfBrewing

4 posts in 766 days


#5 posted 11-08-2014 05:53 PM

I was able to fix a lot of the problems with some pretty aggressive sanding after assembly. This was mostly pocket-screw construction, which is pretty forgiving. I’d like to start learning some real joints though.

Thanks for the tips. I’ve used poplar in a kegerator and it was really easy to work with. A fair amount of it had significant green streaks, but you cant see it after staining (fairly dark). I’ll try it for some night stands.

I have a table saw, the bosch 4100 as I dont have a ton of room and need to be able to take it outside or on the road. As far as I could tell, in the world of portable table saws it is pretty nice. I’d love a cabinet saw (and jointer and planer) but it isn’t in the cards. not yet, anyways. Most of my friends aren’t the handy types, so I’m usually the one they go to when it comes to borrowing tools. Do the small planers work reasonably well? They aren’t too expensive or large, and the smaller capacity doesn’t seem to be a big limit for what I’m interested in.

I’ll look into the hand tools to get the boards I want. Seems like a huge amount of work, but I imagine it gets easier. I saw a simple jig for the table saw to get a straight edge on a board, so I’ll try that next. Once you get the hang of it, how long does it take to ‘fix’ something like a 1”x8”x8’ board?

View ElChe's profile

ElChe

630 posts in 804 days


#6 posted 11-08-2014 06:59 PM

Lunch box planers work very well. I’ve had a Delta 12.5” planer for ten years and it is still running strong. Plus when I have a board that is too wide for my six inch jointer I made a sled for my planer and use playing cards to shim the board on the sled to plane a flat face so I can then thickness plane the other face. And the planer doesn’t take a lot of room like my jointer. As to big box lumber it is very expensive because sanded four side or two side. And then the wood cups a little and it is already at a nominal thickness so further sanding or planing is sketchy. I buy hit and miss lumber at my local yard. Typically 4/4 (1”) that is pretty close to 15/16” thick so plenty of wood there to get me to a true 3/4” thickness that I use a lot. Enjoy woodworking.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4037 posts in 1819 days


#7 posted 11-08-2014 07:41 PM

Here’s the deal, you gotta look at the end grain. Look at the widest boards they have, typically 12” and 10” wide. Look for boards w/ the center pith that are flat. The lumber you want is on the edges of those boards between the knots. When you get the board home rip out the center 2” and use it for firewood, it’s worthless. What you have left is two edge grain boards, otherwise known as quarter sawn. So from a 12” wide board, actual width 11 1/4”, you should get two 4 1/2” boards that won’t warp. That’s the best you can do with common lumber from the home center. Yes, there is a lot of waste but it is still cheaper than buying select. You can build some really quality pieces from common pine if you use this method.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View RogerInColorado's profile

RogerInColorado

321 posts in 1422 days


#8 posted 11-08-2014 11:22 PM

bondogaposis’ suggestion is right on. It looks more expensive than it is, but you get much better stock.

Your location is not in your profile, but since your buds don’t have tools, do a search for a woodworkers guild in your area. Many of them have classes to help you learn about hand tools, including making your own. Members are a wealth of help and support. I know of some that invite members without tools to come to their shop to use theirs. LJ’s are a great bunch, getting face to face is even better.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

22052 posts in 1806 days


#9 posted 11-09-2014 02:24 AM

Select pine is normally better. But, depending on the area you are from, select pine may be as expensive as some other woods. Maybe compare where you are at.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Paul Maurer's profile

Paul Maurer

162 posts in 1022 days


#10 posted 11-10-2014 12:38 AM

I sometimes use 2×4 annd 2×6’s for furniture- see: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/98786
I make use of a planer though. Plane, rip, turn 90 degrees and glue. essentially you get a quarter sawn glued up board.

-- Psalm 62: 11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 12 and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

2635 posts in 2576 days


#11 posted 11-10-2014 03:39 AM



Here s the deal, you gotta look at the end grain. Look at the widest boards they have, typically 12” and 10” wide. Look for boards w/ the center pith that are flat. The lumber you want is on the edges of those boards between the knots. When you get the board home rip out the center 2” and use it for firewood, it s worthless. What you have left is two edge grain boards, otherwise known as quarter sawn. So from a 12” wide board, actual width 11 1/4”, you should get two 4 1/2” boards that won t warp. That s the best you can do with common lumber from the home center. Yes, there is a lot of waste but it is still cheaper than buying select. You can build some really quality pieces from common pine if you use this method.

- bondogaposis

This is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever seen. Thank you, sir! I’m working on an auto restoration project at the moment, so this will go on hold for the moment. But I’ll be sure to check up on this later. Honestly, I don’t remember “Select” being that good. I’ll have to go back and check.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View BadWolfBrewing's profile

BadWolfBrewing

4 posts in 766 days


#12 posted 11-11-2014 03:06 PM

I’ll take a look at some of the wider boards, thats a good idea. I’m doing some reviews research for a nice starter hand plane as well. Looks like good exercise, which I certainly need. Anybody have a recommendation for a reasonably priced hand plane?

I’d love to find a local group. I’m in South Bend, Indiana. Finding a group that doesn’t mind showing me the ropes would make learning woodworking easier, and probably more fun. Maybe I could find somebody to trade homebrewing lessons for woodworking lessons.

I found a store that has classes I think. Once our home projects are wrapping up, I’m going to sign up. Might be a good way of meeting local woodworkers too.

Thanks for the tips everybody.

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

325 posts in 2550 days


#13 posted 11-11-2014 11:04 PM

Also, it never hurts to walk away sometimes. The quality of lumber at the big box stores is all over the place. Some days the lumber is in really bad shape. Other times it is like hitting a mini jackpot. Stock up when you see some that is really nice looking.

Steve

-- Steve

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 863 days


#14 posted 11-13-2014 03:34 PM

Big ditto on bondogaposis’ advice.

Whenever I go lumber shopping at the BORG, I too spend most of the time looking at the end grain on the lumber racks. Even the 2×4s purchased for my basement framing are selected on how close to ‘quartersawn’ I can get. Many times it takes unpacking nearly the entire rack of boards to get to the good ones, but the time spent is well worth it.

As for your question about a hand plane. If you don’t want to spend the cash for new ones from places like Lee Valley or LN, I would recommend visiting yard sales, flea markets, or estate sales to look for a vintage plane or two. There are still some floating around in the wild that would take only minimal restoration work to become good users. Look for old Stanleys or Records – #5 for a jack plane and #4 for a smoother. You might also keep an eye out for a good block plane.

I would stay away from the planes offered at the big box stores. These are cheaply made overseas and the quality puts them in the class of ‘door stops’.

Also you will need to learn how to sharpen and hone the irons.

Ther are a lot of folks here on LJs as well as all over the web that have provide a lot of info about hand planes, sharpeninig, and use.

Good luck in your woodworking journey!

-- Ed

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 863 days


#15 posted 11-13-2014 03:38 PM

Just an additional note…
I’ve never used one, but I have read some fairly good reviews on the line of WoodRiver planes sold at Woodcraft. They are roughly half the price of the ones mentioned in may last post. These could possibly be good starter planes for the novice, but you would need to do some more research on them.
I do have a set of WoodRiver bench chisels, and have had no problems at all with them.

-- Ed

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